Franklin Templeton  

Industry reacts to Mobius stepping back from fund management

Industry reacts to Mobius stepping back from fund management

Dr Mark Mobius is to step down from the portfolio management of Franklin Templeton's key emerging market funds.

Dr Mobius has been one of the most high profile fund managers in emerging markets investing since starting at Franklin Templeton Investments in 1987.

From April he will no longer be involved in the day to day portfolio management of 12 funds including the Templeton Emerging Markets fund, the Templeton Asian Growth fund and the Templeton Frontier Markets fund.

He will now only manage the portfolio of a single fund, the Templeton ASEAN Fund.

However, he will remain as executive chairman for TEMG, contributing investment ideas and research for the group.

Adviser reaction to the move was sanguine.

Simon Lewis, chief executive at Partridge Muir and Warren, said he did not think the announcement would result in a material change to the way in which the funds are managed or to the outcomes for investors.

Mr Lewis said: "It is evident that Franklin Templeton has been working hard to develop a credible team of fund managers over recent years and this development shows growing confidence that they no longer need to rely heavily on Mark’s historical ‘star’ manager status.

"This might prove timely given that Mark’s performance relative to peer group has been disappointing for the last seven years.”

Jason Witcombe, director at Evolve Financial Planning, said: "This is a reminder that there is a risk on fund management groups if they rely on the marketability of a star fund manager, but I am sure there is a big team behind him and they are prepared for this."

Germaine Share, senior manager research analyst at Morningstar, said the move would not impact on the agency's ratings for the Templeton funds.

She said: "This latest announcement is a sensible step in further paving the way for Mobius to step back, and there are no immediate Morningstar Analyst Rating implications following this change.

“For quite some time, Mark Mobius has not been involved in the day-to-day management of the strategies he is now stepping down from, and in most cases the newly named portfolio managers have been doing the heavy lifting for a long time.

"For example, Allan Lam, who will officially be named the lead portfolio manager on Templeton Asian Growth fund, has been the final decision maker of the strategy since 1999."

david.rowley@ft.com